Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that cause so much trouble. In a top down game everything is pretty much flat in the focal depth department. All objects and walls are in focus. The trouble is when you want to have something that is clearly overhead – if that too is in sharp focus it looks like it is in the way of the player. Which is not what I want.
My first thought was to add in shadows that the players torch casts, so as the player moves the overhead pipe shadows move accordingly given the illusion of distance. This worked to a certain degree but they still looked like they were on the floor (until you walk under them).
So, I returned to my original idea for overhead elements from quite a while ago and that was to see what happens if I blur them. This makes sense in a real world situation because objects close to the camera that aren’t at the focal point should be blurry. When I originally looked into this for overhead support beams I just used a black bar sprite that had been blurred – didn’t work. Here though, I have proper detailed sprites. Fortunately it worked and the pipes do now look like they are not on the same plane (visual depth) as the player. This is improved further by the drifting shadows.
That’s pretty much all for this week. It’s been another of those weekends were I just don’t have enough spare time to get more done. Fingers crossed for next week.